3D Printing: current use in facial plastic and reconstructive surgery

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Abstract

Purpose of review

To review the use of three-dimensional (3D) printing in facial plastic and reconstructive surgery, with a focus on current uses in surgical training, surgical planning, clinical outcomes, and biomedical research. To evaluate the limitations and future implications of 3D printing in facial plastic and reconstructive surgery.

Recent findings

Studies reviewed demonstrated 3D printing applications in surgical planning including accurate anatomic biomodels, surgical cutting guides in reconstruction, and patient-specific implants fabrication. 3D printing technology also offers access to well tolerated, reproducible, and high-fidelity/patient-specific models for surgical training. Emerging research in 3D biomaterial printing have led to the development of biocompatible scaffolds with potential for tissue regeneration in reconstruction cases involving significant tissue absence or loss. Major limitations of utilizing 3D printing technology include time and cost, which may be offset by decreased operating times and collaboration between departments to diffuse in-house printing costs

Summary

The current state of the literature shows promising results, but has not yet been validated by large studies or randomized controlled trials. Ultimately, further research and advancements in 3D printing technology should be supported as there is potential to improve resident training, patient care, and surgical outcomes.

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